Western Suburbs Recommendations?
After spending the last 3 years on travel to the Boston area, I feel like the kid outside the candy store looking in. I'm stuck most of the time in the Sudbury or Marlboro area, without the time or energy to make it in to Boston (an hours's drive).
Can anyone help with suggestions within a reasonable (20 minute) driving time of Route 20 between 128 and 495?
Some of my finds to date:
1. I'll confirm the authenticity of Taqueria Mexico in Waltham (as a third generation San Diegan who made my own tortillas in England for a number of years). Try the fresh juice drinks.
2. Speaking of England, best fish and chips are at the Piccadilly Pub on 85 in Hudson. And a great bargain at something like 7.99 for a single dinner or $10.99 for two.
3. Two Thai restaurants. A "nice" restaurant at the corner of Hosmer Road and Boston Post Road (Route 20) in Marlboro, excellent food. And a mostly take-out with a few tables, reputedly run by the former cook of the first restaurant, I think the name is Thai Street, also on Boston Post Road, in Sudbury west of the Star Market but east of the 99 restaurant. Char-broiled Garlic Salmon with stirfried vegs is my choice. Pad Thai is bland.
4. Wonderful lobster roll at JT's, a small local pub in Westboro, on 135 South just off Route 9. Worth a trip.
5. I know Outback Steakhouse is a chain, but I suggest you try them - in addition to steaks, they have superior hamburgers and rack of lamb. Eat at the bar if you are too far down the waiting list.
6. Someone recommended the Ataska in Cambridge for Portuguese food, but I haven't made it there yet. Anyone know it?
There are a lot of great places in Waltham. Ritcey's 560 Moody Street is a fabulous fish restaurant. Fresh cut french fries "hard to find" great onion rings and super chowders. All the fish is really fresh and they know how to cook it. Try their baked stuffed shrimp. Beer and wine available. The Tuscan Grille 361 Moody Street and Campania 504 Main Street are the two open kitchen style restaurants serving food from their respective regions. The Tuscan has been around for a long time, (successor to the Allegro) and Jimmy Burke is a culinary icon. Campania was started by the family who was formally associated with Domenic's Bakery 987 Main Street. This is a great little Italian bakery that also serves "made from scratch" cooked food to go. I work there on Saturday, (not paid but well fed!) say hello if you stop in. Also try Waltham's Ecuadorian offering Pandorgas 170 Willow Street. You have to like cilantro as it is used in a lot of their food. The soups are a must try. If you are looking for something closer to home, the Charcuterie in the Star Market mall on RT20 in Sudbury is a nice spot for lunch. The husband/wife owners are both vegetarian but as the name would suggest the menu is not. If they happen to have it, the Shepherds Pie is great. Tom does some magical thing with the mashed potatoes. Sky on RT 20 in Sudbury is also pretty good for and inexpensive meal. Lotus Blossom RT20 Sudbury was voted the best Chinese restaurant in Boston by Zagat two years ago. While this is a joke, the food is very good. They also have a new sister restaurant Water Lilly next to Bread and Circus in Wayland on RT 20. I am very familiar with the food scene in Metro West. If you need other suggestions or a specific type of food I will try to accommodate. I haven't been back to Atasca 279 Broadway #A since it opened, but I have heard good things. Portuguese is a tough category in Boston. You really have to go to New Bedford or Fall River.
re: Paul Desorcy
Paul, Sorry for the delay in following up, got side tracked into Naked Fish for a while (mixed opinion, will post under that string of discussion). Also, have been several times to a small place in Sudbury called Moon Shadow, which is only open Wednesday through Saturday (possibly Sunday but as I'm rarely in town over a weekend, and my Internet connection is out of state, my apologies for not having all the details). Anyway, Moon Shadow is a bit pricey (entrees $13 - $23) but the food is excellent in general. I recently had Vodka steak tips in a brown sauce with tomatoes, onions, etc. Their meals are served with a fresh veggie, and a choice of potato, rice pilaf, or angel hair pasta. I'm not wild about the Caesar dressing on their salad (not included), a bit vinegary, but the broiled shrimp you can get with it were good. The trout was fresh and lovely. They have several chicken specialties, also good. Desserts include a big selection of pies. I've tried and can recommend the Indian Pudding and the creme caramel. I'll try the chocolate bread pudding next time. They are in the Sudbury Mill Village complex on Route 20, about 6 miles from Route 128, down below the new buildings which have replaced those gutted in a fire a year ago.
The Thai takeout place I mentioned first time around is Thai Avenue (not Thai Street), and since my first post, the 99 restaurant is no more - replaced in January with a Blue Lion Bar and Grill with a wood fired grill. Generally a cut above the 99, tho I do miss the 99's great bargain steak tips.
Revisited Lotus Blossom recently, still excellent food, but on the bland side this time - don't believe the menu heat warnings. Finally, anyone looking for breakfast in the area should try Franco's at Farm Road on Route 20 in Marlboro - good omelets, including several specials of the day, also special pancakes, etc. Only open for breakfast and lunch.
Will try Ritcey's and Pandorgas next week. Thanks for the recommendations.
I agree whole heartedly about JP's lobster roll; been there many times and my wife never gets anything else. But I enjoy haddock even more than lobster, and JP's is excellent. For lunch, their fish (haddock) sandwich is an outstanding value.
When on the Cape, we also greatly enjoy Seafood Sam's (two locations: Sandwich and Falmouth)
Sky Restaurant is a favorite of ours. Friendly atmosphere, very good to excellent service, and excellent food. Their menu has a good selection of dishes and range of prices. One of my favorite dishes is Chicken Cavatelli.
We have eaten there many times and have never been disappointed. During warm weather, we especially like eating on the deck.
Even in group functions, Sky does a remarkable job. In November, we hosted a pre-wedding "Get Acquainted" party for about 60 mostly discriminating guests, many from New York City, and received an unbelievable number of spontaneous comments on the excellence of the food that was served buffet style.
re: Anthony Martinelli
Thanks for the advice about Chicken Cavatelli. I'm not quite as enthusiastic about Sky as you are, but I'm not quite sure why. The service is fine, and a Pecan-crusted salmon special I had once was truly outstanding. However, a couple of other times, the flavor or food combinations just didn't quite come off for me. An example was their mexican style spring roll appetizer, which was too big and heavy for an appetizer (and I'm a big eater), and the corn salsa also wasn't what I was looking for. May be just me, and based on your good words, will certainly stop in again.